Enter to Win Free Book Friday: Houston Beer

Enter to Win Free Book Friday: Houston Beer

Happy Friday everybody! We hope you’re thirsty for today’s freebie, Houston Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Bayou City, by Ronnie Crocker.

How do you get a free copy? Before 12 AM EST on Sunday, April 8th, comment on this post and tell us why you’d love to win this book and/or why you love craft beer! And don’t forget to check out the free excerpt below.


From the early days, and long before Americans had ever heard the term “craft beer,” settlers in the Bayou City excelled in the art of ales, stouts and lagers. In 1913, it was a Houston brewery that claimed the distinction of “the world’s finest bottled beer” after winning an international competition in Belgium.

Belgium-born Frantz Brogniez became the most celebrated of Houston’s pre-Prohibition brewers. Collection of Philip Brogniez.

However, the unfortunate rise of Prohibition put this dynamic industry on hold. According to Crocker, fights between boozers and Prohibitionists escalated to a personal level:

Temperance advocate Carrie Nation with her Bible and her hatchet in 1910.

For all its celebrated rowdiness, Houston was not immune to the prohibitionist groundswell of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In late 1905, the ax-wielding Carry Nation herself visited Houston to express her displeasure—to the tune of $750 in damage—with a local drinking establishment that had been named for her. Houston wasn’t unique in this regard, either; as Nation took her rampaging crusade to saloons across the country, besieged barkeeps were known to post signs that read, “All Nations Welcome, Except Carry.”

Despite Houston’s booze battles throughout history, an inextinguishable enthusiasm for its frosty pints has ultimately prevailed. From ordaining a “patron saint of booze” to naming a dark Belgian-style beer for the dark cardinal in The Three Musketeers (Richelieu), the golden age of Texas brewing has energized a quirky but flavorful resurgence.

Saint Arnold’s limited-release Divine Reserve series beers had always been popular, but by 2009 they were selling out in minutes. Photo by Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle.

In 2008, Saint Arnold Brewing Company was the only craft brewery in Houston. Just a few years later, there are five and counting within an hour’s drive of downtown. Journalist and “Beer, TX” blogger Ronnie Crocker chronicles Houston’s long and surprising history of brewing, tracing everything from the grand legacy of Anheuser-Busch to the up-and-coming craft beer makers and those brewing it right at home.


Ronnie Crocker started newspapering while a student at Texas A&M and has never been tempted to do anything else. He is an editor and writer for the Houston Chronicle, where he launched the Beer, TX blog in March 2009 (in addition to Beer, TX follow Crocker’s beer writing on Twitter and Facebook). Crocker was born in Galveston, grew up in the Houston area and worked as a journalist at the Bryan–College Station Eagle in Texas and the Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia, before returning home to join the Chronicle in 1994. He holds a master’s in business administration from the College of William and Mary. People seem jealous when he tells them he gets to write about beer. They should be.

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  1. avatar Jennifer Guerrero says:

    I moved to Colorado years ago and when I came back I was so pleasantly surprised at all the new beer I would love to read this

  2. Would make for a nice evening of reading and drinking craft beer.

  3. I love tasting the creative possibilities of craft beer.

  4. avatar Tom Mahan says:

    Never been to Houston, but this would be a great way to check out the city, and also the craft
    brew scene there from its early days!

  5. avatar Steve Moore says:

    I’m planning to hit one of Ronnie’s book signings at the earliest opportunity. Looking forward to the book.

  6. avatar Keith Marrocco says:

    My first beer was of the light-beer ilk, which tasted to me like glue. From my college days twenty years ago until recently I avoided all beer except Shiner. Around two years ago a friend introduced me to a “gateway” craft beer. I was amazed that beer could actually taste good. This spurred my interest and investigations into other craft beers, such as St. Arnold’s, No Name, and other beers, both internal and external to Texas. I am actually microblogging about beers on Twitter these days, and have just finished my first DIY homebrew. The book would help me discover other new beers in the area and further expand my knowledge of what is possible.

  7. I have lived in Houston all of my life and was a bud light only drinker up until about 2005 or so, and that is when I fell in love with the world of craft beer. I will pretty much try anything nowadays, especially if it is made in TEXAS.


  8. avatar Katphiche says:

    No beer like hometown beer. Go Houston Brewers

  9. I love beer, I love Houston, and I love Texas. This is, without question, the book for me.

  10. I love Texas, and I love beer!

  11. Love me some beer.

  12. love craft beers as its like the mom and pop opearation of beers and love to learn more about tx

  13. avatar History Press says:

    Names have been randomly drawn and Free Book Friday sweepstakes are over! Congratulations to Donald Sajda for winning Ronnie Crocker’s new book, “Houston Beer.” Thanks so much to everybody else for your well-crafted and *cough* hoppy comments!

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